Child Support Lawyer In Westport, CT
Connecticut family law firm upholds your rights in support disputes
Connecticut law recognizes that child support is an obligation shared by both parents. When families occupy the same household, support is assumed. However, when the parents live apart, measures must be taken to ensure each parent shoulders their share of the obligation. At Needle | Cuda, our Westport child support lawyers represent parents on both sides of the process. We structure support arrangements that accurately reflect the parents’ financial means and the children’s specific needs. As your advocates, we make sure the court is fully aware of all circumstances that must be considered to reach a reasonable and fair decision.
How Connecticut family courts decide child support
Connecticut uses an “income shares” model of child support, based on state guidelines, that is designed to ensure that children are supported at the same level they would be if their parents lived together. Calculation of child support involves the following:
- Calculation of the net incomes of the parents (after allowable deductions) are added together
- Determination of a presumptive child support amount based on the state guidelines
- Determination of whether there should be a deviation from the guidelines, how to address income in excess of the guidelines chart or if the child support guidelines may be avoided altogether due to special needs of a child
- Determination of how uninsured and other out-of-pocket medical expenses will be shared
- Determination of how extracurricular and other child activity expenses will be shared
- What contribution may be necessary to pay for qualified childcare expenses
Once each parent’s obligation has been determined, the parenting plan provides for the actual payment of support. A parent who does not exercise any physical custody over the children pays all of his or her obligation to the custodial parent. When custody is more or less equal, the higher-earning parent pays the difference in their obligations to the lower-earning parent.
Deviations from the state guidelines
Parents can request that the court deviate from the guidelines to increase or decrease the support obligations. Grounds for an upward deviation include any unusual but necessary expenses, such as:
- Other resources available to a parent, such as substantial assets or high earning capacity
- Extraordinary expenses for the care or maintenance of the child
- Extraordinary parental expenses, such as those related to travel to see the child or un-reimbursable medical/disability-related expenses
- Needs of a parent’s other dependents
- Coordination of total family support
- Other special circumstances (a catchall of sorts)
Litigating child support matters in Connecticut
Connecticut state guidelines on child support are meant to provide for consistency in similar cases, thereby reducing litigation and appeals. However, you may find it necessary to contest a child support determination. For example, a parent may try to underreport his or her income for child support purposes, such as by manipulating records from a closely held business. Conversely, as a paying parent you may feel the other parent is unfairly inflating expenses which are not necessary or in your child’s best interest, or which do not accurately relate to your child at all.
After a divorce or initial child custody/support action, you may have to litigate to enforce or modify child support. If a parent fails to meet their full court-ordered child support obligations despite having the means to pay, courts can take various enforcement measures, such as seizing bank assets or garnishing wages — and sometimes even ordering incarceration. Parents can petition the court to modify the support order based on proof of financial hardship, such as through loss of a job, or of other good cause, such as unexpected medical expenses. Our firm ably assists in enforcement and modification proceedings.
Contact our Westport, CT family law attorneys for child support counsel
Needle | Cuda represents clients in Fairfield County in child support matters. We provide highly professional yet personal representation focused on delivering positive results. To reserve a consultation, call us today at 203-557-9500 or contact our Westport office online.